If you are a new or existing business, the dreaded “branding” conversation has to have had happened at least once during your beginning stages. Building a brand, a brand image, and a brand strategy around your product or service can come naturally, or, it can be a huge, frustrating, and confusing pain in the ass. In those cases, your best off hiring professionals who specialize in these types of things (Like us) to help you work out the kinks of your marketing strategy. Although branding isn’t always a make-or-break factor in a company’s ability to be successful, cohesive branding creates a number of invaluable advantages for your business.
Today, we’d like to cover the many aspects as to why it is important to establish your brand’s identity as well as how it can aid you in improving your all-around marketing efforts.
What Should Strong Branding Do?
Your branding should set you in a playing field of your own. Customers should not have to think twice about who or what is the solution to their problem. A strong branding strategy can help achieve this in a number of ways.
The signs of a strong brand:
- Clearly delivers your company’s message or objective
- Gives you credibility amongst your customers and competitors
- Builds a lasting impression with your customers
- Connects your customers to your product or service
- Motivates purchases & repeat customers
- Develops strong brand loyalty
Once you are able to clearly define all of the above aspects, the hard part is over. This will serve as the base of your identity and help you fill in the gaps as you begin to fine-tune and integrate them with your team and partners.
Why Is Branding Important?
Your brand is your identity and your company’s means of standing out in often competitive industries. It is your image and how you are perceived both from the outside world as well as by the collective of people that make up your business. The core value of a brand boils down to one simple statement that’s not always so easy to answer: “We exist because ____.” This should be the starting point as you build your identity because it will play a key role in trying to connect with your customers.
It also is important to point out that branding goes well beyond the aesthetics of your perceived image. It is often the intangibles that create motivation to purchase and customer loyalty. We’ll leave the aesthetics to the creatives and marketing team to fuss over.
“Brand is strategic and marketing is tactical and what you use to get your brand in front of consumers.” -Lauren Lake, the balance
This is the ability to in which customers not only love your products or services enough to convert, but also buy into who you are as a company while following along with you on your journey. Social Media and Content Marketing have played a huge role in really bringing this aspect of a brand to life in recent years through storytelling and (non)branded content.
By now, you’ve heard the word “intangibles” mentioned, but might be wondering exactly what that is. Let’s go with the obvious example: Apple. Apple’s value goes well beyond the overpriced products we all find ourselves repeatedly purchasing. Are Apple’s products superior to the rest of it’s competition? Many people would say absolutely not. There’s no clearly-defined tangible argument for Apple lovers, yet it is the biggest, most popular, and recognized technology brand in the world. THIS is what made Steve Jobs a genius – his ability to connect the dots on what a customer wanted in a personal computer – NOT developing superior hardware.
Building a cohesive brand is equally important for your company’s team as it is for your customers. When you have your entire team rowing in the same direction and preaching the same ideals to customers that got them there in the first place you will be able to operate a lot more smoothly and not to mention with a lot more passion. This also allows your customers to know what to expect from you when they decide to engage with your business. A clear, concise brand direction will help you create expectations with your customers that will keep them coming back for more, tell their peers about you, and hold your business accountable at all times.
Which Companies Should Focus On Their Branding Efforts?
ALL OF THEM! Large, small, new, existing, old, successful, and especially failing. Times change and you must be ready to adapt in order to survive in such a shaken up world of commerce. Levi’s is a great example of re-branding themselves to capture a newer, younger customer while staying loyal to their older clientele and loyal customers.
How Will Branding Boost Your Marketing Efforts?
Once you have worked through all the details and logistics of what your brand actually represents, you can leverage this information in all of your marketing channels. Branding will affect the types of content you push through your blog and social media, as well as allow you to develop unique ways to connect with your audience. Branding is at the core of your marketing.
Take for instance setting up a target audience for a paid ad campaign you are running for your most popular product. You have an idea of who or what you think your audience is, what the ad messaging should look/sound like, and what you think is a clear vision of what the ad creative that will connect most with your audience is. However, various members of your team have a variety of different ideas they are confident about, and so forth… you’re going to waste a lot of money on ad spend by potentially targeting the wrong people and more importantly deliver an ad campaign that may or may not confuse your true audience. Thus, creating a rift between you and the people that keep you in business.
Branding is more important than ever with the amount of information we consume on a daily basis. Great branding can work wonders for your company’s value, provide your employees with a clear and concise direction, as well as connect with new and existing customers as you grow.
It is easy to go down a rabbit hole as you begin thinking about your brand. Keep in mind that this is something that will not happen overnight and in most cases, will require the input and opinions of core members of your company. Be patient, meticulous, and honest with yourself as you develop your brand identity. These things are often malleable as your business develops over time.
Keep a lookout for the follow-up to this post in which we will cover the more tangible items and aesthetics that make up a brand, as well as how you can apply them in real life situations. If you have any questions or would like our team of experts to assess your brand identity and/or help you develop one, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always eager to help! G’bless!